Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Birding at Pawnee National Grasslands

First camping trip of the ’10 season – Pawnee National Grasslands 5/14-5/16. Rainy, muddy, cold, windy, but saw some fantastic birds. Pawnee National Grasslands is Colorado’s premier short-grass prairie preserve.  We camped at the Crow Valley campground, which is an oasis of trees and wetlands that attracts migrating songbirds in addition to its year-round inhabitants. My thanks to the Denver Audubon Society folks who were staying at the campground on the same weekend – I got to tag along and saw many birds that I may not have spotted on my own. My bird list of 29 species, collected over a 24-hour period:

Robins
House wrens
Eastern kingbirds
Western kingbirds
Common nighthawk
Starlings
White-breasted nuthatch
Red-breasted nuthatch
Yellow warblers
Orange-crowned warblers
Downy woodpecker
Hairy woodpecker
Brown thrashers (beautiful song – never seen nor heard them before)
Blue-gray gnatcatcher
Least flycatcher
Juvenile ferruginous hawk
Clay-colored sparrow
White-crowned sparrow
Lincoln’s sparrow
Chipping sparrow
Swainson’s thrushes (campground was thick with them!)
Green-tailed towhees
Ruby-crowned kinglet
American goldfinches
Flickers
Mourning doves
Eurasian collared doves
Northern mockingbirds

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White-crowned sparrows

At least three white-crowned sparrows have been foraging on the ground near our bird feeders, searching for unopened sunflower seeds. They have such a pretty song. All the more poignant, as they’re here only a couple of weeks before leaving for the high country.